It is funny to watch my children grow up right before my very eyes. My husband and I always chuckle when they do something exactly like we would do – they are watching and learning, and it is amazing. This past weekend we received some sad news about my older daughter’s best friend. It was bad enough a few months ago when we found out she would be moving to the east coast. My daughter was very sad to be losing her best friend, but she actually understood why – it hit a little close to home. Her best friends parents are scientists (like my husband), and science jobs are not easy to come by in Seattle. Her father’s job was eliminated a few months ago – and he found a job in Boston, where it was also easy for her mother to transfer. This weekend’s news though was a lot more scary. Before moving to Boston, her best friend was in Italy on vacation with her parents, and she got hit by a taxi in Naples. Fortunately she is going to be ok, but she suffered a bad fracture in her leg. They made it back to the states today, and my daughter is so anxious to see her tomorrow.
We immediately started thinking about what we could do when they come back, and my daughter went straight to food. She went to the cook books and found a recipe in Kitchen for Kids by Jennifer Low – she even checked to make sure we had all the ingredients. This is basically a blog first – but I had no part in baking these cookies – I was at work when she was slaving away with the babysitter. Supposedly she made these all by herself – and for a 10-year-old, I am seriously impressed. I know her friend is going to love these tomorrow – I truly believe that good food can make just about anything a little better…and it is so amazing to see that my daughter feels the same way.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, soft
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 8 drops of green food coloring
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Line an 8×8 square pan with plastic wrap and lots of overhang. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the butter mixture, in a large bowl, use a baking spatula or wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg, corn syrup, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
To make the mint dough, measure out 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup of the butter mixture into another large bowl and add a drop of green food coloring to it. Set aside.
To make the chocolate dough, use the butter mixture in the bowl that does not have the food coloring. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix well. Gradually stir in 1 2/3 cups flour. When the dough gets too stiff, use your hands to knead it into a smooth ball, working inside the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, knead in a teaspoon of flour.
Pinch off and drop big blobs of the chocolate dough into the lined pan. Press them down to cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Dust hands with flour, if needed. Chill the pan for about 10 minutes. (Don’t leave it for much longer or it will get too stiff to roll.) Wash your hands.
While the chocolate dough chills, finish making the mint dough. Stir the peppermint extra and another seven drops of green food coloring into the butter mixture for a bright color. Mix well. Gradually stir in 1 1/4 cups flour. When the dough gets too stiff, use your hands to knead it into a smooth ball, working inside the bowl. The dough might seem crumbly at first, but keep squeezing and it will soften.
After chilling the chocolate dough, drop blobs of mint dough on top and press to cover the chocolate dough. Dust hands with flour, if needed.
Use the plastic to lift the square of dough out of the pan and onto your work table. Keep the plastic under the dough. To make it easy to roll, use the heels of your hands to flatten one side of the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Place this flattened strip in front of you to begin rolling. Lift the plastic to help you roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pat the ends in. Wrap the dough in the plastic. If the cylinder is fatter in some parts than others, roll the fatter parts a few times to even it out. You should have a cylinder that is 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill 30 minutes.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
After chilling, remove the plastic, then use a dinner knife to cut the cylinder into 1/2-inch thick rounds – or a grown-up can cut it with a sharp knife. If the dough is too stiff to cut, let it warm up a little first. Place the rounds on a lined baking sheet at least 3 inches apart.
Bake the cookies, about 16 minutes, or until the edges are firm, the tops are no longer shiny and the green dough is still green. (If baked too long, the green dough will turn golden.) They might be slightly soft in the middle, but will firm up once cooled. Cool completely on the sheet.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Chocolate-Mint Pinwheel Cookies